Around the Horns: Ponder stifled on Sunday

September, 19, 2013
9/19/13
10:20
AM ET
Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

Perhaps the most revealing moment of Christian Ponder's Wednesday news conference came when he was asked about the Vikings' play call 3rd-on and-4 from the Bears' six-yard line last Sunday. On the play, Adrian Peterson was stuffed for no gain and the Vikings had to kick a field goal, rather than putting the game away with just more than three minutes left.

Did Ponder have the option to check to a pass on the play? "I did not," Ponder said.

That admission, after Ponder had consistently moved the Vikings throughout the second half, was a strike against offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, according to Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Instead of putting the game away and restoring some confidence in Ponder before the Vikings' home opener, Reusse writes, Musgrave chose to play it safe.

"Ponder’s teammates appeared to be at the height of confidence in him," Reusse writes. "Clearly, it was an attitude that Musgrave didn’t share. He ordered a Peterson run -- with no option for Ponder to use a QB’s better judgment."

Ponder said the Vikings wanted to make sure they got points -- their field goal put them up six points -- and reminded reporters the team has "the best running back in the league." That's true, but Ponder also said the Vikings made the decision to make sure "nothing crazy" happened on the play. The quarterback certainly isn't playing anywhere near the level to command the trust from the Vikings the game's best quarterbacks get from their teams, but as Reusse writes, that might have started to change if Ponder had been given the chance to come through and made the most of it.

Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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